Portions of Highway 11 still closed after fire destroys Irish Bayou casino and gas station

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Irish Bayou Truck Stop was destroyed by a major fire Thursday afternoon. Crews were still on scene Friday morning.

NOFD Fire and Rescue Operations personnel were called around 5 p.m. to the business in the 3600 block of Ridgeway Blvd. where four customers and two employees were inside the building at the time of the fire. All safely escaped the building prior to NOFD arrival.

Firefighters attempted to perform an interior attack of the structure but were quickly forced out due to the intensity of the fire.  The lack of hydrant connections in the area forced firefighters to perform drafting operations from a nearby waterway.

This is a common procedure for the furthest eastern portions of Orleans Parish.  Having to draft for a water supply and the importance of making sure the fire did not extend to the truck stop's fuel pumps led to the request for additional personnel and equipment prompting this incident's escalation to a third-alarm at 5:40 p.m.

The thick black smoke from this fire forced the closing of LA Hwy 11 in both directions and the closing of the Interstate-10 exits to LA Hwy 11. Part of Highway 11 is still closed Friday  morning as crews continue to work on the fire.

Firefighters are still checking for hot spots to make sure the fire does not reignite.

The structural portion of the Irish Bayou Truck Stop, which housed a convenience store, small casino and small restaurant, was almost completely destroyed during this incident.

Twenty NOFD units carrying sixty-one Fire Operations personnel responded this fire, bringing it under control at 7:18 p.m. There were no injuries reported and the cause of the fire is currently being investigated with assistance of investigators from Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office. The New Orleans Police Department was on the scene to assist with traffic control and Entergy also assisted in the mitigation of this incident.